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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  September 13, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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redits and loans, to create thousands more california jobs. i'm barbara boxer and i approve this message because i want to see the words "made in america" again. on our broadcast this monday night, look out below. after that gas main explosion leveled a california neighborhood, new questions about other disasters just waiting to happen. on the record, a rare and candid conversation tonight with a member of the u.s. supreme court. justice steven breyer. standing up to bullying in school. what most kids already know and what parents need to know about the problem. and sudden death. a high school ball player's close call in the end zone, and what some are calling the miracle that saved his life. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. there was something about watching all those homes in california incinerated in that natural gas explosion and fire that made people think of their own homes, to see a neighborhood that was thriving just last week, gone today, makes you think twice about the dangers we all live with. in this case, the pipelines and gas mains that crisscross the country and bring energy to american homes. hundreds of thousands of miles of them passing under communities like san bruno, california. we start off just south of san francisco. miguel, good evening. >> reporter: good evening. tonight, the company that owns the ruptured line offered a bp-like fund. $100 million for families affected by the blast, but tonight, many of them just want answers. as new video surfaced of last week's gas explosion in san bruno, the gas company began
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inspecting all 5,000 miles of its natural gas lines. a mandate issued by a state regulator, was ordered to protect the gas company's 15 million customers. but according to energy experts, thursday's disaster that incinerated nearly 40 homes and obliterated an entire neighborhood, could have happened anywhere. >> this is a national safety issue, because in many local communities, because of a lack of local rules and regulations, neighborhoods have been able -- neighborhoods have grown and sprawled over these high pressure pipelines. >> reporter: with no cause determined in the rupture, pg&e has come under fire for not replacing the 50 yield pipes that ruptured sooner. the transmission line, buried before homes were built here, was never intended to run under such a densely populated neighborhood. pg says the pipe was inspected twice in the last year. and it appeared stable. >> we have not found anything in our records to indicate that
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people called for that specific area. >> reporter: nationwide, there are 305,000 miles of natural gas lines, serving more than 65 million homes. over 50% of households are heated by natural gas. within days of thursday's explosion, california state leaders called for a congressional hearing. >> across this country, gas is being distributed to homes, and i think the question that everyone is asking, is this going to happen in my community? >> reporter: critics say pg&e neglected public safety, calling the pipeline one of the most dangerous in the country. they point to one of the gas company's own memos which reads, "the likelihood of a failure at this location, unacceptably high." >> these gas lines are definitely a ticking time bomb. and that is why people are concerned, and that's why a federal and state regulators need to intervene. >> reporter: but they insist their lines are safe.
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meantime, bob and tina have lost everything they own. this is their home before the blast, this is their community today. >> i'm sure a lot of other people are worried about what's running underneath their streets and neighborhood. >> reporter: tonight, pg&e says money for the blast victims who live in the neighborhood just behind me will never make up for what's happened and they admitted during a news conference today, they're not sure how many of these big gas lines run through neighborhoods across this region. brian? >> miguel starting us off just south of san francisco. in san bruno, california. miguel, thanks. we turn also tonight, and a big fight from the bush years is back, bigger than ever. it's about tax cuts past into law back then, but due to expire this december. this issue has gotten all tied up in election year politics. now there's talk of a compromise, but it's about real money to the americans affected. we get more from our chief white
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house correspondent chuck todd tonight. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. look, it's 50 days and counting to the november midterm elections. we know the economy is dominating the debate. today, the white house and republicans skirmishing over the future of those so-called bush tax cuts. president obama took his unofficial campaign on behalf of embattled democrats to a backyard in suburban northern virginia, where he compared the state of the economy to a bad car accident. >> the country went through a huge trauma. it takes some time to recover. now part of what's holding us back is us needing to go ahead and feel confident about the future. >> reporter: the most immediate debate between the president and republicans in congress is the future of the so-called bush tax cuts set to expire this year. the president wants to extend the tax cuts just for families he calls middle class, those who make less than $250,000. republicans want to extend all the tax cuts, including those for high-income earners.
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on sunday, republican john boehner, the man who could be next speaker of the house, wavered. >> if the only option i have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, i'll vote for them. >> reporter: the white house eagerly responded. >> it sounded to us yesterday like there was a willingness by congressman boehner to go to the president's position of keeping middle class tax relief in place. >> reporter: behind the scenes, the real motivation of the white house is to continue its campaign to cast boehner as the face of the republican opposition. to that end, robert gibbs spent most of sunday on twitter in a back and forth battle with boehner. the president isn't just debating republicans on taxes, key senate democrats aren't convinced that now is the time to raise taxes on the rich, either. and some economists are nervous about any tax increases in the short term. >> i think if we raise anyone's tax rates in 2011 when the recovery is so fragile, we're
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taking a chance the recovery goes back into recession. >> reporter: and brian, tomorrow is the final big primary day of the year. we're watching delaware, where a tea party challenge could cost the republicans an easy shot at winning joe biden's senate seat in november. >> chuck todd from the white house tonight, thanks. the economy remains an urgent concern across the country. the senate is expected to vote on one of the president's plans to give the economy a boost, a bill to give tax breaks to small businesses, which have been hard hit by the recession. it is especially urgent these days in california where the job market, among the worst in the country. nbc's lee cowan has our report from there tonight. >> reporter: in a state that boasts some of the best universities, some of the wealthiest residents and some of the most expensive real estate, california's economy is still in the poor house. a new study shows california's 2.3 million unemployed workers now take an average of eight
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months to find a job, a record. in fact, there are so many of the so-called long-term jobless in california, they now outnumber the residents of san francisco, by a long shot. >> it's very difficult and it's disheartening. listening to the economic news these days, it's almost depressing. >> reporter: key sectors of california's economy like construction and manufacturing have all but vanished. if you think having a degree helps, it hasn't. in fact, the share of college grads who got a job here in california has dropped nearly 9%. why? those with experience are so desperate to find work they're taking those entry level jobs away. >> all i know is i either go back to school or i go back to a job that i didn't study for. >> reporter: employers have been doing bare bones business for months but feel the state's economic appetite may be
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returning. >> we see peaks and we're not seeing as many valleys. >> reporter: the president's proposed tax writeoffs could mean a new delivery truck, maybe even a new stove. but she's not ready to hire new workers, not yet. >> the economy, though it's not a swift recovery, we feel it's not continuing to go off the cliff. >> reporter: not going off a cliff may be the new economic norm in california. lee cowan, nbc news, los angeles. hurdling along to the east coast now, hurricane igor, thousands of miles out to sea, and that's a good thing, because it's a category 4 so far, second most powerful storm there is. sustained winds of 150 miles an hour at the core. nasa has an incredible view of it from space tonight. this is a monster with a well defined eye. big enough storm that it would stretch from dallas, texas, to washington, d.c. it could strengthen to a category 5, but may skirt bermuda with strong winds.
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it's expected so far to stay well away from the u.s. coast. again, however, whipping up waves along the east coast. trical storm julia has formed, behind igor, part of that daisy chain across the atlantic. not nearly as strong with winds of about 50 miles an hour. also not posing a threat, they don't believe to the u.s. we can't remember a sitting justice on the u.s. supreme court ever stopping by our studios here, but it happened today. we spent some time with justice steven breyer, appointed by president clinton. and residing on the liberal side of the court. he's out with a new book today about how the court works. including mistakes the court has made over the years. i started out by asking justice breyer if he's concerned that just 1% of those americans polled in a recent survey knew his name. >> it's not a problem that people don't know my name. i don't think when i read some,
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i read people know more than the name of the three stooges than know the names of the supreme court justices, that's all right. but if more people know the names of the three stages and not that there are three branches of the government, that's not all right. what people should know is about the institution that exists and how it works and why it works the way it does. and that concerns them. >> do you think bush v. gore hurt the credibility of the modern court? >> yes. >> irreparably? >> no. >> for how long? >> i don't know. that's up to historians. i thought the decision -- i was in dissent. i obviously thought the majority was wrong. but i've heard harry reid say this, and i agree with it completely, he said the most remarkable thing about that case, bush versus gore, is something hardly anyone remarks. and that remarkable thing is even though more than half the public strongly disagreed with
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it, thought it was really wrong, they followed it. and the alternative, using guns, having revolutions in the street, is a worse alternative. >> to a new area, academic social elitism on the court, what would be your view of bringing in -- presidents appointing justices who went to a couple state law schools? >> no problem. >> why hasn't it happened? >> i'm not the appointing authority. >> i agree. you have no say. >> i've said that many times. i'm one of the few people, when you start talking about the appointment process, it's like asking for the recipe of chicken ala king from the point of the chicken. i was the appointed person. i'm not the appointing person. i don't think any president would say that would be a terrible thing to bring people from state law schools.
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there have been all kinds of people from different law schools. people educate themselves in different ways and all things being equal, the more diversity on the court the better. i better know something about the people i'm going to affect and how it might affect them. so a judge has to have a certain amount of what i would call imagination about how other people think and feel, and what's likely to happen as a result of this decision, and having a diversity of experience on the court is helpful. >> as you look at your colleagues on the court, the other eight, are you convinced they are trying to be the best citizens possible and the best stewards possible as the final arbiters for the laws that control our lives? >> are we the best citizens possible? none of us thinks that. we don't know that. there isn't one of us who doesn't think and know that he could have been somebody else who was appointed. when you say trying, i believe that if you're with us and looking magically over our shoulder, you would say i was right to put in the word
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"trying" because they're trying. so you've set up a goal, and the best we can do is to try to live up to that goal, to try. >> justice breyer wouldn't talk about any issue that might come before the court, including the new york islamic center controversy, though we tried. though he did say he's disturbed by allegations that the justices on the court are somehow politicians. we posted much more on our website. nightly when we continue in just a moment, if kids have been dealing with bullying forever, why does it seem worse and what's being done about it? and later, it was one of those moments in time and it saved the life of a high school football star.
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we're back. as promised tonight, we have a new look at bullying. a huge concern for kids and parents. and while it's been around forever, that's true, it's seemingly more pervasive, now
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more intense. that has some school districts looking at new ways to fight back. nbc's kate snow has our report. >> does anyone know what any of these are? >> reporter: it's only the second week of school at belmont elementary in maryland, and already these students are getting a valuable lesson in a program called project change. >> no child can say they haven't bullied or haven't been bullied. >> reporter: maggie should know. at 17, she says she's been both a victim of bullying and to be honest, she's done some things she's not proud of. >> play ground at lunch, i took chalk and i wrote her name and i wrote she was stupid. >> reporter: it's happening all over the country, at younger and younger ages. often online. >> someone said, oh, this person still sleeps with a blanky or that person still sucks their thumb. >> reporter: the principal figures talking about bullying before it starts might keep it out of the classrooms.
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>> they'll be able to identify it, recognize it, and hopefully seek appropriate assistance when it happens to them. >> reporter: belmont is doing a couple things that experts say are critical, having children role play situations and teaching kids if they see bullying, do something. >> if we say, i want you to stand up, most of the kids say, what does that mean? what does that look like? >> reporter: as part of a report, we set up hidden cameras and with their parent's permission, watched how a group of kids reacted when another child was bullied. the bully and victim are actors. >> don't be mean. >> i'm not going to be mean. >> reporter: lucy befriends the actor/victim. >> come on, we're going to win this. >> reporter: and shows concerns for the victim's feelings. >> you see how you're getting your feelings hurt? i'm not trying to be rude. >> because of one child activating it, the other steps in. that's how you mobilize it. >> 85% of kids are not a bully and they're not a victim, they're a bystander. >> reporter: it's what they're teaching at belmont.
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>> how do you want to about this route? >> reporter: changing behavior, one school, one child at a time. kate snow, nbc news, new york. >> as kate mentioned, today on a special "dateline" broadcast, she'll host "the perils of parenting," as a veteran parent herself. it's a revealing look at bullies and other issues that parents and kids face these days. that's tonight at 10:00, 9:00 central. when we come back, can a sandwich really help save the planet? it's being called, by some at least, the ultimate green lunch.
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our thanks to all of you who watched the hour-long live special on friday night from los angeles "stand up to cancer." it was a privilege to appear. as part of it all, three evening news anchors coming together for a cause. along with a plethora of stars. thanks as well for donating, as generously as you did for cancer research. because people are still making pledges on the website, they are still tabulating a dollar figure for total donations. it was a big night last night for 24-year-old stefani germanotto. you may know her better as lady gaga. she took the mtv video music awards by storm, winning just about every award in sight, including video of the year. lots of costume changes. while she always tries to be outrageous, finding new themes is getting tougher.
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last night she turned to meat. meat apparel hadn't been tried before. peta was not happy. peta is also in the news for a new product they are launching later this month. peta butter, they say they're doing it because peanut butter they want to push as a sandwich component that does not harm animals. there is already an internet effort called the pb and j campaign which is claiming when you have what they call a plant based lunch, you save 2.5 pounds of carbon emissions over what they call the average animal based lunch, like hamburgers, tuna or chicken. and all it cost to process it and get it to you. they compare it to the difference between a regular car and a hybrid. they feel americans need to see peanut butter and jelly as a way to save the planet. one sandwich at a time. when we come back here tonight, a winning play like you've never seen. his high school teammates are calling what they saw on the
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field a miracle.
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it was a high school football game this past weekend, and it was just like one of the thousands all across this country this past weekend.
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but what happened in portland, oregon was so remarkable, it had a lot of people talking about it today. a heart-stopping play, with a surprise ending. we get the story from nbc's george lewis. >> reporter: hayward demison, number 21, star tail back at central catholic high. and today, he has his teammates and his coach believing in miracles. >> just happy he's with us still. just very humbled. >> reporter: friday night, he gets the ball and runs 45 yards for the winning touchdown. >> i was very pumped up and excited. i was very hyper and stuff, so i was trying to make my best effort, finish strong. >> reporter: on the sidelines, his heart kept racing, faster and faster. >> he had been diagnosed with athlete's asthma a few years ago, so he thought maybe he was having an episode. >> i was like, coach, i can't breathe and stuff. i asked him to get my inhaler. >> reporter: the inhaler made things worse.
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he felt faint, leaned on his coach, and then collapsed. his heart had stopped. >> it didn't look like asthma to me. with him being as unresponsive as he was. >> reporter: cardiac nurse lisa liber just happened to be at the game that night and raced onto the field. >> without feeling a pulse, without him being responsive, he looked pretty dead. >> reporter: she didn't have a defibrillator, so she started performing cpr. >> you should feel his heart start beating under my hands. it's amazing to see somebody come back to life. >> reporter: demison is scheduled for heart surgery to repair a defective artery. he and his twin sister are very close, and he gets all choked up thinking how scared she was at the thought of losing him. >> that day was just emotional for me, because she really loves me and i love her, too. >> reporter: george lewis, nbc news, los angeles. >> he needs to take it easy for
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a while. that's our broadcast for this monday night. thank you for being with us. as we start a new week, i'm brian williams. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- the fireball in san bruno. the blast caught on surveillance video. what we learned by watching this new video as friends and family talk about those who did not survive the explosion. >> she was one of those kids that you wish every child was like. >> tonight, memories of those lost and hope for those injured. good evening, everyone. i'm tom sinkovitz. >> i'm jessica aguirre. the ravages of that explosion coming into focus tonight. we have live team coverage of the disaster from the


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